In Gadkari’s woes, a ray of hope for Muttemwar

With BJP chief Nitin Gadkari facing rough weather, chances of Nagpur Congress MP Vilas Muttemwar — who is likely to face Gadkari in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls — for a Cabinet berth at the Centre have started looking brighter than ever.

And with Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Mukul Wasnik, also from Nagpur, too, walking out of the Cabinet, the way appears to have been paved for Muttemwar to re-enter the ministry after a gap of four years, said sources.

"The party would want to put Muttemwar on a stronger turf against Gadkari who has resolved to fight for the Nagpur LS seat. Also, Wasnik's exit has ended the dilemma about having two ministers from same place. That makes Muttemwar's case look solid for getting a fresh stint," a source told The Indian Express . "It won't be surprising if seven-time MP Muttemwar gets a Cabinet rank."

Muttemwar, 63, was MoS, Independent Charge, for Renewable Energy Sources during UPA I regime. However, he was not included in UPA II.

Muttemwar had then vociferously joined the chorus for Vidarbha statehood with many others. The Congress high command compensated him with party general secretary's post. He was also made Chairman of the Committee on Foods, Consumer Affairs and Food Distribution.

Muttemwar, however, has many rivals within the party in Nagpur. His main opponents are state Minister for EGS Nitin Raut, Congress secretary and former minister Anees Ahmed and former Minister Satish Chaturvedi. More than Gadkari, Muttemwar faces the real challenge from the triumvirate, though he has, of late, started mending fences with Chaturvedi.

He himself is tight-lipped about his prospects of getting a Cabinet berth. "I don't know anything. You will know tomorrow. What's the hurry," said Muttemwar.

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